Booming Britain sets

new car record

Ford Fiesta, UK top seller in 2016
Vauxhall Corsa Red, front action
Ford Focus Black Edition, front, static

A RECORD number of new cars was sold in Britain in 2016 according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

It is the fifth consecutive year of growth in sales which last year topped out at almost 2.7 million models.

The top selling car remains the Ford Fiesta followed by the Vauxhall Corsa with the Ford Focus in third spot.

In total 2,692,786 cars were registered in 2016, up 2.3 per cent on the previous year.

The SMMT said that buyers were attracted by a range of new cars and attractive finance deals.

There are now 44 mainstream car brands offering nearly 400 different model types in Britain - and 2017 looks set to be another busy year with almost 70 new models due to arrive in the next 12 months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said:"Despite 2016's political and economic uncertainties, the UK's new car market deliveredanother record performance as car makers offered an incredible range of innovative and high tech models."

But he was cautious about the future post-Brexit months, adding: "2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods but, with interest rates still at historic lows and a range of new models arriving in 2017, there are still many reasons for consumers to consider a new car in 2017.

"Looking longer term, the strength of this market will rest on our ability to maintain our current trading relations and, in particular, avoid tariff barriers which could add significantly to the cost of a new car."

Analysing trends, the SMMT revealed that fleet buyers were responsible for most of the growth, with demand growing to a record 1.38 million units.

The private market remained at a historically high level, with more than 1.2 million private buyers registering a new car in 2016, although demand fell over the latter three quarters of the year and December sales were downslightly by -1.1 per cent year on year with178,022new cars registered in the month.

Electric cars saw significant growth with more than 10,000 buyers in 2016, up 3.3 per cent on 2015.

Other so-called alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids saw demand rise by 41.9 per cent and 25.1 per cent respectively while diesel sales were up slightly at 1,285,160 units. Petrol powered vehicles remained the most popular at 1,318,707 - a rise of almost three per cent compared to 2015.

The top ten sellers in 2016 were:

1. Ford Fiesta.................120,525
2. Vauxhall Corsa.............77,110
3. Ford Focus...................70,545
4. VW Golf.........................69,492
5. Nissan Qashqai..........62,682
6. Vauxhall Astra..............60,719
7. VW Polo........................54,448
8. MINI................................48,328
9. Mercedes C-Class......44,184
10. Audi A3........................43,808

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